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ONLINE EXTRA

English Bridge August 2014 Online Extra

58

The Five-card Major System

Five-card Majors Part IV

by Neil Rosen

I AM delighted at the interest (panic?!)

this series has engendered. I think that this

month we will slow down slightly and

review some of the material already

covered.

Before doing that, however, an area of

competitive bidding which ties in

wonderfully well when playing five-card

majors and a strong no-trump is

to play support doubles (see

Jeremy Dhondy's article, February

2014, page 57) and redoubles.

These apply when partner, as responder,

has shown a suit at the one level, with the

length of the suit unknown (at least four

cards), and enable you to show your level

of support precisely so that partner can

judge the continuations, whether the

opponents continue to bid or not.

Support Doubles:

Partner Has Responded and

RHO Overcalls

Consider the following auction:

Opener Opp 1 Responder Opp 2

You Partner

1® Pass 1™ 2t

Dble

The double here is a support double,

showing exactly three-card heart support

Compare this to the following alternative

calls you could make:

2™ would guarantee four-card support,

most usually in a weak no-trump

type hand (these auctions are high

frequency).

3t is an unassuming cue-bid

(see my article in the June

2012 issue, pages 24-25),

show ing a good hand with

four-card support, 16+ HCP being

usual (or even a very good 15, I

suppose) - something like Hand A

below:

3™ shows a stretched hand with fourcard

support and a bit of shape (not

a weak no-trump hand - that would

always just bid 2™ in this

situation), something like Hand B

below:

When do Support Doubles Apply?

They apply when partner has responded at

the one level to your opening bid and the

partnership is still able to play at the two

level in the suit bid. Thus in the following

auction:

Opener Opp 1 Responder Opp 2

You Partner

1® Pass 1™ 2´

Dble

Your double is not a support double. It is

simply a take-out double - the reason

being that there is no security at the three

level. However, holding Hand C as res ponder

in the next auction, it would not

be ridiculous to compete to 3™ (I know the

'Law of Total Tricks' says not to, but at

least you are guaranteed an eight-card fit).

Hand A

´ Q 7

™ A J 8 3

t A 5

® K Q 10 7 6

Hand B

´ 7

™ A J 8 3

t A 5 2

® K Q 10 7 6

Opener Opp 1 Responder Opp 2

You Partner

1® Pass 1™ 2t

Dble 3t ?

If opener had simply passed over 2t, you

would expect him to have at most two

hearts (or a very bad hand) so competing

to 3™ would be much less attractive.

If on the last auction opener had bid 2™

over 2t, showing four-card support, it

should be very easy to bid to 3™ (a

guaranteed nine-card fit nearly always

suggests competing to the three level in

compe tition).

So these are the principles:

1. Support doubles are mandatory at

the one level, but optional at the

two level: that is, look at your hand

- if very poor, do not make a

support double at the two level.

2. They apply after partner has res ponded

at the one level and the

length of his suit is still unknown

(at least four cards).

3. They do not apply when the op ponents

overcall 1NT, when a double

should be reserved for penalties.

For example:

Opener Opp 1 Responder Opp 2

You Partner

1® Pass 1™ 1NT

Dble

The double is not a support double

it is for penalties.

4. They do apply after a 1® - 1t start

Hand C

´ 7 4 3

™ K J 8 6 3

t 5 2

® A 9 8

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